Marking the Anniversary of a Remarkable Year

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Dr. Nancy Whitmore

I am pleased to share yet another issue of eDialogue with you. This electronic magazine has been a fantastic tool to share information in a quick and easy to access manner. The magazine has transformed over the past couple of years as we have worked hard to provide you with content that is informative, timely and, hopefully, relevant to your practice of medicine. 

Our feature article in this issue of eDialogue is about the health consequences of weight bias. As one of the researchers interviewed described it — weight bias, independent of obesity, poses a major public health concern. Read more about how the stigma may make some patients with obesity reluctant to seek out the care they need. The issue of obesity management clearly resonates with many physicians as the new Canadian guideline on the topic was the most read CMAJ article in 2020. I hope you’ll enjoy the article and take some important learnings from what we have uncovered about this ‘last socially acceptable bias.’

In this issue of eDialogue, I’m also pleased to share more information about our new Quality Improvement (QI) program that has been successfully rolling out across the province. The proactive QI program replaces our random peer assessment model, and is intended to allow you to step back from the pressures of the daily care you provide to your patients and reflect on your current practice. The end result will hopefully be insight on how to continuously improve the care for the patients you serve. Physicians participating in the QI program are eligible to claim CPD credits through the CFPC or the Royal College Maintenance of Certification program. So far, the feedback we have received has been very positive.

Earlier this year, we also named Dr. Saroo Sharda as the College’s new Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) lead. Dr. Sharda, who joined the College as a medical advisor in late 2019, comes with a wealth of experience in this area, having published extensively and presented on topics around the importance of equity, anti-racism and anti-oppression in health care. A practising anesthesiologist, she is also a passionate writer and storyteller, one who believes that the tenets of narrative medicine can help combat discrimination, build cultural safety for doctors and patients, and deliver a more equitable health-care experience for all. Dr. Sharda also says that having a strong and reflexive EDI strategy here at CPSO will not only help us better fulfill our mandate to serve the public trust in medicine, but it will also contribute to reduced physician stress and burnout, which we know  helps to strengthen patient experiences and outcomes. We are committed to listening and continuously learning from those we seek to serve as we embark upon this work as an organization.

I want to acknowledge that March 11 was the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic. More than 22,000 Canadians have lost their lives as a result of this disease. The resiliency shown by many people, front-line workers in particular, has been awe-inspiring. Health care swiftly moved to a virtual care model to ensure patients received care during stay-at-home orders. The indirect implications of COVID-19 on the health system for the foreseeable future are going to require health-care providers to continue to be extremely resilient. The inability to access in-person care due to lockdown restrictions combined with some patients fearing visiting a provider in-person has resulted in later-stage cancer diagnoses in the ED, some patients having difficulties accessing important preventative care, and marked challenges in managing chronic illnesses. Although the pandemic is far from over, it is time to make a shift back to a true balance between in-person and virtual care. For more on this, please visit the COVID-19 FAQs on our website.

Finally, as we enter spring, I join all of you in hoping that this season will bring the beginning of the end of the pandemic. This year, more than any other, we have called on physicians to yet again go above and beyond the call of duty, and I thank you for all that you have done to keep Ontario patients safe while the world moved through unexplored territory.

Warm regards,